12 Mar 2009

US airline security directive could hamper exporters from the Marshalls

4:36 pm on 12 March 2009

A newly announced U.S. airline security directive is sparking concern among businesses and individuals in the western Pacific who send freight on Continental Micronesia airlines.

The U.S. Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) has told Continental Airlines that freight can no longer be accepted from individual shippers, and must be forwarded through a cargo agent, consolidator or freight forwarder.

The ruling affects cargo from Majuro, Kwajalein, Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap and Palau.

Local businessmen in Majuro say the directive adds another layer of paperwork and cost that will make their products less competitive.

Continental officials say they are negotiating with the TSA for exemptions for these small islands many of which have few licensed cargo agents.

There are only three on Majuro.